Patience is one of the most underrated qualities a photographer can have when it comes to shooting. Especially when it comes to shooting some difficult subjects, in this case children. Children seem to have this unlimited tank of energy that is feeding into their motors at all time. A quality that I feel most adults still envy. But because of this constant energy it’s impossible to get them to hold still and keep them in one place long enough to get a shot.
This weekend I was asked to do a shoot with someone I’ve worked with before and get photos of her and her daughter. The little girl in this situation was a perfect example of the previously mentioned motor with an infinite fuel tank. To the mother in this situation it seemed like a lost cause getting her to hold still and get photos but I assured her that I could get in done. When I shoot photos I’m looking for moments as opposed to posses and this shoot was a great example of that. As opposed to getting the images you would see out of a sears portrait studio I want to capture the interaction between the subjects and try to bring out relationship between a mother and her young daughter.
Containing a child’s personality is like trying to catch a bullet with your bare hands. The best you can do is get the child to feel like they’re playing along. While at a local park it can be very easy for a child to get distracted but instead of looking at this as a frustrating situation you should look at it as an opportunity to capture a great moment. There is nothing more nostalgic than a child treating the whole world as it’s playground.
I’ve always had more fun with photography by keeping it organic. Let things happen in front of you and you can capture things that are unique and different as opposed to something that feels staged and orchestrated. Why should shooting portraits be made to feel like your trying to make a family look happy. If you can get the right kind of interaction you will just naturally bring out that happiness by just letting them be themselves. To them mother it can be frustrating to handle a hyperactive child but it is still plain to see the love and care she has for her daughter.
There is nothing wrong with trying to get the perfect image but sometimes if you try to force it you’ll never get that image. If you show some patience and look for the right moment the perfect image will come to you. That being said you should also still go out and shoot. If you constantly sit there and wait for it to happen you’ll miss out on opportunity elsewhere. Sometimes you won’t even know you’ve captured a moment till after you got it. Sometimes you just need to dive in but you don’t have to do it with guns blazing.